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Ciccada - 2010 - "A Child in the Mirror"

(57:45, Fading/Altrock Records)


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TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Ciccada 4:38
2.  Isabella Sunset 6:09
3.  A Child in the Mirror 6:00
4.  A Storyteller's Dream 7:08
5.  Raindrops 4:16
6.  An Endless Sea 5:27
7.  A Mountain Song 4:58
8.  Elisabeth 7:08
9.  The Moment 3:14
10. A Garden of Delights 8:23

LINEUP:

Evangelia Kozoni Ц vocals; accordion; percussion
Nicolas Nikolopoulos Ц recorders; keyboards; vocals
Yorgos Mouchos Ц guitars; vocals
Omiros Komninos Ц bass 
With:
Alberto De Grandis Ц drums (1-4, 6-10)
Vassilis Lykos Ц violoncello (2, 6, 8, 10)
Panayotis Yannakakis Ц piano (2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10)
Valerio Cippolone Ц clarinet (1, 4, 5, 8, 9)
Hryssoula Georgaki Ц clarinet (2, 3, 7, 10)
Spyros Laskarides Ц trumpet (2, 3, 9, 10)
Mattia Signo Ц glockenspiel (4, 5)

Prolusion. The Greek outfit CICCADA was formed back in 2005, with an initial core line-up consisting of Evangelia Kozoni, Nicolas Nikolopoulos and Giorgos Mouchos. This central unit was expanded in 2009 with the addition of Omiros Komninos, after which the band hit the studio to record their debut effort, utilizing a number of guest musicians for additional instrumental textures. The end result was released in 2010 as "A Child in the Mirror".

Analysis. One fact about this Greek band that will be easily noted by anyone deciding to explore their material is that they are fond of a medieval sound. Various reeds and strings are utilized extensively throughput, with the clarinet in particular given a special role as a dark yet unobtrusive counterpoint to the instrument(s) providing a lighter and more uplifting dominating motif. Furthermore, richly layered arrangements are something of a specialty for this act. Sparsely instrumented passages are used effectively throughout to contrast with these rich and elaborate constructions, but the latter is by far the dominating aspect of the compositions at hand. The fondness for the really old school sound is a foundation in this case though, and the sophisticated arrangements are utilized extensively in the additional stylistic wanderings of Ciccada as well. They branch out towards symphonic progressive territories first and foremost, mostly by way of the organ, but also by incorporating careful digital strings to the proceedings. Those with a fondness for the Mellotron will come across a fair number of juicy passages on this production that should suit their tastes nicely. Additional ventures into more jazz-oriented territories are a further dimension to the compositions explored, and on occasion guitar riffs with a distinct metal edge to them are used to good effect to add further flavors to be enjoyed by listeners with a taste for adventurous and challenging music. The latter isn't a given in this genre, and indeed not a constant feature on this disc either. But a fair number contain elements of a nature that should suit those who desire more than strong melodies and multilayered harmonic landscapes. Subtle and even slightly dramatic dissonances and disharmonies add tension abound, and at times some really unpredictable developments in the themes explored, with opening tracks Ciccada and Isabella Sunset the standout efforts in that respect. Both songs represent the most adventurous as well as the most intriguing excursions on this disc, with final effort A Garden of Delights also a well-made piece exploring similar musical territories. With pastoral folk and symphonic themes nicely blended with elaborate arrangements, a fair few challenging elements utilized throughout, as well as jazz-oriented moves as an additional dimension to this production, describing it as a generally eclectic effort seems to be appropriate. Still, the stylistic foundation is of a distinctly folk-oriented nature, and as such it will be a requirement to like that type of music to be able to fully enjoy this album.

Conclusion. "A Child in the Mirror" is a strong first effort from a Greek outfit that one hopes will continue providing quality material for many years to come. Sophisticated, challenging and elaborate music, using progressive folk rock as the initial point of reference for ventures out into the symphonic and jazz-oriented landscapes are the key features, always returning to the point of origin rather than staying put in the realms discovered on these at times highly adventurous musical journeys. Not always perfect, but always intriguing either by way of novelty or by sheer beauty. Resume: A very good effort in general, and a really tasty morsel for those with a special interest in the folk-oriented parts of the progressive musical universe.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: November 10, 2010
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Altrock Records
Ciccada


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